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How do I deal with unusual claim situations?

Consumer rights are becoming more and more important to consumers. If the goods themselves “fall apart” or become non-functional, we have a receipt for them and we meet the right deadline for a complaint, then the complaints process is no problem for most of us. But what if we don’t have the receipt or the original packaging, or if the defect that has already been claimed appears again and again? These less common situations are the focus of our article.

nekvalitní výrobek, reklamace výrobku
7 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Basic principles of complaints

We have repeatedly discussed the common complaint procedure in our texts. Let us therefore just repeat the basic principles, which we will continue to build on.

Legal liability for the quality of the goods applies in the first six months after purchase, when the law operates with a presumption of defectiveness of the goods on receipt. However, it is still the case that if a defect appears within 24 months of purchase (or receipt of the goods), you have the right to make a claim, which must be settled by the seller.

You can make a claim at the seller’s premises or at an authorised service centre listed on the warranty card. The place of claim is determined by the identification number or business name on the receipt. In the case of a network of stores managed by one company, you can claim the goods at any of their stores. The only exceptions are franchises that use the same logo and brand name, but in most cases they are different business entities.

What are the ways we know how to handle a claim?

The options for dealing with complaints can vary depending on what type of defect it is and when it occurs. However, the basic principles are as follows:

If the defect appears within 6 months after the purchase of the goods, the goods are deemed to have been defective from the start and you can claim a replacement for new goods.

However, in the case of a defect that can be repaired without undue delay, you do not have such a claim.

In a situation where neither replacement nor easy repair is possible, you can decide whether to withdraw from the contract or claim a discount.

If the same defect reappears after the repair or if you claim several different defects on one product, you are automatically entitled to either a replacement or a withdrawal and refund.

You must always indicate your preferred method of claim on the claim form.

Are you unsuccessfully resolving your disputes regarding a rejected claim?

Apre-suit notice written by a lawyer has not only a legal but also a significant psychological effect. In practice, the majority of consumer disputes will end thanks to it. We will assess your rejected claim, write a pre-action notice and send it to the seller within 3 days.

Dealer procedure

The seller must first decide whether to accept the complaint. At this stage, he does not yet assess the defects, but focuses on the general requirements for the possibility of exercising rights under defective performance. The seller usually decides whether to accept the claim immediately, but in more complex cases he has a deadline of 3 days. The 30-day period for dealing with the complaint then starts.

He can only reject the defect on the grounds provided for by law:

  • If you are complaining to a trader other than the one who sold you the goods.
  • If you are complaining about defects that you knew about and were warned about when you made the contract.
  • If the defect you are claiming is due to your damage to the item or your failure to follow the manual.
  • If there has been wear and tear caused by normal use of the item.

Tip: We have discussed in detail the unrecognized complaint, including the procedure for unrecognized complaints and the solution in cooperation with the CTIA or through the courts, in our article.

Consumer woes of our clients

Our law firm is not only contacted by those who need to resolve contractual documentation or prepare a lawsuit, or write a criminal complaint, but often also by those who just need quick targeted advice in a situation they are not sure how to handle. These cases are often related to claims and consumer law, which is how we know what you are most concerned about.

Complaining about goods without a receipt

Many customers put receipts in loose compartments of their wallet, in their diaries or, in worse cases, in their trouser pockets. The problem arises when something goes wrong with the item, they need to find the right receipt, but it is nowhere to be found.

Several times, clients in a similar situation have contacted us for advice, asking if they are entitled to a claim when they have lost their receipt. The answer is yes.
The absence of a proof of purchase or warranty certificate does not mean that the goods cannot be claimed. However, you should be able to prove in some other way that you purchased the goods from the trader on the day in question.

If most of your transactions are cashless, you are half out of luck. All you have to do is look in your electronic accounting system and find the purchase. Or try to see if you can prove the purchase in some other way. In some cases, it was enough for the seller to say that it was an original item that only he offered.

A third claim for the same defect

Mr Thomas contacted us to ask how long he had to “tolerate” the trader’s efforts to repair the product. He had already claimed the same fault twice for a wireless speaker where the bluetooth connection was dropping out. After the repair, the product always worked as it should for about 14 days, and then the situation repeated. Now the speaker has broken down for the third time and the customer has run out of patience. He would like his money back and planned to purchase a completely different product from a different brand.

In such a case, Mr Tomas is entitled to a refund, although it is not explicitly stated by law how many times the trader must allow him to do so after a complaint. However, the Civil Code states that if we cannot use the goods properly due to the recurrence of a defect after repair (or if the goods have a large number of defects), then we have the right to have a new item delivered without defects, to have parts of the item replaced, and to withdraw from the contract of sale. A third recurrence of a defect can undoubtedly be considered such a situation, as has been repeatedly held by the courts.
However, we recommended that Mr. Tomáš explicitly state and request this method of resolving the complaint in the complaint report, just to be sure.

The interpretation of the term “multiple defects” may also be mentioned in this context We refer to it when there are at least three defects in the goods at the same time, each of which must prevent the proper use of the goods, or when there are four different remediable defects in the goods in succession.

Claims without original packaging

Another relatively common, but unwelcome situation from the point of view of traders, is when we are going to claim, for example, a broken telephone, television or shoes, but we no longer have the original packaging of the product. Although manufacturers like to claim that they cannot accept goods without the original box, don’t let them discourage you and insist on your rights. You don’t want to claim the packaging, but the goods in it. The law does not require you to present the goods for claim in their original or intact packaging. Therefore, the seller cannot impose this obligation on you, which is not known to the law.

This fact has been repeatedly confirmed by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, to which you can appeal during the complaints procedure.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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